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Anderson impressive as he extends streak

Righty has not allowed an earned run in 21 2/3 consecutive innings
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Sheepishly, Chase Anderson admitted he did not have good command of the baseball on Tuesday. That's not the sort of thing one usually hears from a pitcher an hour removed from 7 2/3 scoreless innings.

Yet that was the reality as Anderson extended his scoreless streak to a career-best 21 2/3 innings in a 5-2 win over the Giants at Miller Park. It gave Anderson three wins in a row, including back-to-back beauties at Miller Park in which he pitched into the eighth. Ten days earlier against the D-backs, he'd come within six outs of a no-hitter.

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MILWAUKEE -- Sheepishly, Chase Anderson admitted he did not have good command of the baseball on Tuesday. That's not the sort of thing one usually hears from a pitcher an hour removed from 7 2/3 scoreless innings.

Yet that was the reality as Anderson extended his scoreless streak to a career-best 21 2/3 innings in a 5-2 win over the Giants at Miller Park. It gave Anderson three wins in a row, including back-to-back beauties at Miller Park in which he pitched into the eighth. Ten days earlier against the D-backs, he'd come within six outs of a no-hitter.

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"It's been fun lately, that's for sure," Anderson said.

Of course it's fun for a 29-year-old right-hander who suddenly owns a little extra on his fastball -- Anderson added 10 pounds of muscle over the winter -- and two new, high-quality pitches.

When Anderson came to the Brewers in a trade with the D-backs last year, he worked primarily with a fastball-changeup combo. During the second half of last season, an improved curveball carried him to a 2.56 ERA over his final 12 starts. This year, he has more than doubled the use of his cutter.

The four-pitch mix has transformed Anderson into a different kind of pitcher. In the near-no-hitter, his fastball was the primary pitch. In seven scoreless innings against the Mets last week, it was the cutter. On Tuesday, the curveball stood out to manager Craig Counsell.

"He went to it a lot more, early strikes," said Counsell.

"We didn't even throw the changeup much," catcher Jett Bandy said.

Anderson has had a quality start in six of his 12 trips to the mound, matching his total from 30 starts over all of last year. His ERA has improved to 2.94, including 1.69 in six starts at home. He has 22 strikeouts and five walks during his three-start scoreless streak.

"He's picked up his velocity since the last time I saw him," Giants catcher Buster Posey said.

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: .@STATS_MLB has data back to 1974 on this, and says these are the only Brewers scoreless streaks longer than Anderson's 21 2/3 innings. pic.twitter.com/Cc1eLwh1Jl

"He's on top of his game. This is when a guy gets locked in," Counsell said. "There are more weapons, the velocity is up a little bit. That adds up to a better pitcher, and that's what we're seeing."

Anderson's teammates helped by scoring four runs in the second inning and turning four double plays, including a strike 'em out, throw 'em out between Anderson and Bandy against Brandon Belt to end the fourth.

Video: SF@MIL: Brewers turn strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out DP

The prettiest double play, however, produced the first two outs of the seventh on Brandon Crawford's slow roller toward third base. Hernan Perez fired the baseball to second baseman Eric Sogard, who made a quick turn and threw to a fully stretched-out Jesus Aguilar at first.

Video: SF@MIL: Perez fields the grounder to start the DP

"I hate to say it, but I didn't have the best command," Anderson said. "I was able to make pitches when I needed to, but I felt off a little bit."

After a pause, he said, "I say that humbly."

With better results, Anderson has been granted a longer leash by Counsell. Three of Anderson's five highest pitch counts have come in his last three starts, including a career-high 114 pitches against Arizona. He threw 110 pitches on Tuesday.

Anderson's next target is a complete game. He has one in his professional career, a shutout for Class A South Bend in 2010.

"I would love to have that game," Anderson said.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers, Chase Anderson